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2020 Spring crawl: Preston on Friday, 17th April with Spinko on the Pub Forum

John Snow, Soho, W1

39 Broadwick Street
W1
W1F 9QJ

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 6 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Tris C left this review about John Snow

As usual with Soho pubs, this dates from the early 18th century, but was rebuilt in the late 18th for Watney’s. It was known as the Newcastle-upon-Tyne until the current name’s application in 1956.
Given Humphrey’s admirable – for once – penchant for restoration, I’m not sure how much of the interior is original, but it’s very attractive and with its bottle green paint job, cream Anaglypta ceiling, dark wood, cut and etched glass, with pot boy doors between rooms, much like the Angel in Bermondsey, but not as challenging as those in Maida Vale’s Prince Alfred. With normal seating, banquettes and a ban on music, it’s very evocative of the Victorian age.
Sadly, there’s no draught beer, the most appealing drink being Old Brewery on keg at a pricey – for Sam’s – £2.35 a half and drinkable once warmed up.
As for customers, they were generally fairly young, the pub being a well-known gay venue but not so in-your-face (so to speak) as other gay venues around the Old Compton Street pink triangle a short walk from here, most congregated outside, drinking from plastic mugs.
This is a very nice pub. With a good choice of real ales, this could be something of a destination.

On 16th October 2021 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1303 recommendations about 1282 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Quinno _ left this review about John Snow

A quick one in here. Not much has changed downstairs and it's fairly small, so popped back upsatirs like I did 13(!) years prior. The room has been done over a little, either that or my memory is playing tricks. Still no OBB! I've become more enamoured with Sam's pubs over the years and whilst this isn't exactly first divsion, I still enjoyed my 30 minutes drinking one of the fruit beers.

October 2006
Sam Smiths outlet just off Carnaby Street, named after the chap who demonstrated that Cholera was a water-borne disease; the pump he used was located just outside the entrance. The downstairs bar is partitioned into three small areas by very low part-glazed screens. The upstairs bar is one main room, with the classic SS etched glass and wood panelling décor. Usual Sam Smiths range – except no OBB so no real ale. Clientele tend to be quite young. The inside also tends to get bloody cold outside of summer. I find it hard to have much of an opinion about this place really…meh. Visit once to have a quick look round. Rated 5

On 6th January 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 4200 recommendations about 4187 pubs]


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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about John Snow

Interesting Sam Smiths pub, with two of the three ground floor rooms divided by a part-glazed screen with a VERY low door. The other space is a snug, but there is a somewhat grander room upstairs (now mostly used for those dining). However, there is still no OBB on handpump which meant that it was the India Ale (£2.55, half) instead on this flying revisit. Certainly worth a visit, but could be so much better if they just had their real ale on.

On 2nd January 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6612 recommendations about 6612 pubs]


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hondo . left this review about John Snow

Sam Smuth's pub that is split into a public bar,saloon and snug. Practice limbo dancing.

On 24th October 2016 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2802 recommendations about 2744 pubs]


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Roger Button left this review about John Snow

This Sam Smiths pub is named after the physician (ironically a staunch teetotaler) who discovered that cholera was water borne (and not airborne as was originally believed) by disabling a nearby contaminated water pump and finding that the cholera deaths suddenly ceased. A replica of the pump can still be seen a few yards down the road albeit not in the original position.

There are some who would argue that turning off the Sam Smiths pumps in the pub could have similar results to the drinking populace but for all Sam Smith’s marmite appeal, they do generally have quite interesting pubs and the John Snow is no different.

The building dates from the 1870’s and the pub was originally called the Newcastle-Upon Tyne, changing its name to the John Snow in 1955. The pub is very in heritage territory with an old fashioned ground floor layout divided into 3 sections, the etched windows spelling out whether you are in the Saloon Bar, Public Bar or the Snug. The snug is a separate room wheras the Public and Saloon bars are divided by a wooden screen with a small and very low door between the two. Furnishings are simple with a single padded bench in the snug, some leatgher banquette seating in the saloon which to all intents and puroses is the bar. An open staircase in the public bar leads to the John Snow Room, an additional and comparatively spacious L-shaped bar on the first floor with high ceilings and quite a contrast to the ground floor.

There is a good range of Sam Smiths products – Old Brewery Bitter, Sovereign Bitter, Cider Reserve, Taddy Lager, Pure Brewed Lager and Organic Wheat Beer, all at bargain bin prices (OBB was currently £2.21) but unfortunatley they are all keg - there are no handpumps. Also, plastic glasses were used and I wasn’t given an option despite the fact I was not drinking outside.

The pub was recently propelled into the headlines following the great male snogging scandal that divided opinions and attracted mixed publicity but things appear to have moved on and the pub’s popularity was clear from the hordes of pavement drinkers although the inside was relatively calm.

Personally I like Sam Smiths pubs and their traditional character. I even don’t mind their beers although the cask ale version of the Old Brewery Bitter wouldn’t go amiss here. Other than that this is as cosy as any of its other West End outlets.

On 5th October 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]


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Real Ale Ray left this review about John Snow

Another heritage pub part of the Sam Smith chain, which in my opinion, is a good thing as the pub keeps it's original identity. Well worth a look in, found the manager very helpful and gave me a list of more interesting pubs to visit in the area.

On 6th August 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3035 recommendations about 3035 pubs]


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John Bonser left this review about John Snow

The John Snow is a street corner Sam's pub in the heart of Soho.

It's done out in their usual traditional style with a U shaped bar divided up by partitions to create a number of different rooms. There's the usual etched glass and wood panelling in abundance.

I didn't see anything in the pub to indicate why the pub is so named, but I gather it's named after a Dr John Snow who was around during the cholera epidemic of 1854 and realised that it was water that was causing the problem. Sorry to disappoint those sports fans who thought it was named after the former England fast bowler !

On my recent early Saturday evening visit, the pub was quite busy with a youngish crowd of people who looked like media types.

The Sam Smiths OBB - £ 1.99p - is not real ale and tasted rather chilled and tasteless to me.

If they could only start serving decent beer in here, I'd happily come here again as I quite liked this place as a pub.

On 15th October 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]


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Rex Rattus left this review about John Snow

this is a Sam Smith's pub. It has a very interesting interior, with separate drinking areas. But it does not have Old Brewery Bitter on handpump, so is not recommended if ale quality is important to you. There is a pinkish kerbstone outside marking the location of the pump that assisted John Snow in demonstrating that Cholera was a water-borne disease.

On 20th September 2008 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2590 recommendations about 2504 pubs]